Richard Money keen to adopt 'Telford model' at Hartlepool United - but accepts he may have to wait until the summer
AFC Telford showed Hartlepool United how to play non-league football - that's the view of Richard Money.
The Pools boss believes his side are ill-equipped to challenge at the top end of the division, lacking the fundamentals of those who are challenging at the higher echelons of the National League.
Lacking any real height, size, pace and dynamism from front to back, it is the view of Money privately that a complete rebuild of the team is needed. That can't be done in January, of course, with the summer set to be a one of numerous ins and outs.
If Money needed any more evidence of his team's faults, it came in the defeat to National League North side AFC Telford in the FA Trophy at the Super 6 Stadium last week.
On paper this was a cup shock - a team from a division lower beating one recently relegated from the Football League. Scratch the surface, though, and this came as a shock to few who'd seen both this season with Telford looking like a National League team in waiting as they chase the sixth tier title and Pools sliding closer to the bottom four than those in the promotion-chasing top seven.
Money believes Pools can take a leaf out of Telford's book, when looking at what it takes to get out of non-league football.
"Play the way Telford play," he said when asked by the Mail about what Pools must do to arrest their decline.
"You win every first header, you win every second ball and when you can play in the opposition's area, you play. You don't pass backwards, don't have 10 passes in your own half and go nowhere.
"This league is a forward-thinking, forward-running, forward-passing.
"Nobody wants to ask anybody in any team to just kick the ball forward but you can do it with quality. You can play into the channels with quality, win second balls, and play from there.
"The more passes and possession you have the more risks, the more you open yourselves up. One ball has been getting us into trouble. We have to play in a different way."
At this stage of the season, Money's hands are tied to an extent.
There's only so much rebuilding that can be done when a squad is set and few clubs want to let their better players - ones suited to non-league football - depart.
"The squad is built to try and play football, we have tried to build on that," he said.
"To get results playing the way we want to you have to be full of confidence and at the top of your game because it is not easy to do that at this level.
"I would suggest players are at this level because they can only produce their best on an inconsistent basis.
"We all have to understand the previous manager wanted to play a system that did not require wingers.
"I am not surprised with the balance of the squad but we want to change that."
Money has won just two of his seven games in charge at Pools so far - his first outing at Leamington in round one of the FA Trophy and the New Year's Day victory over Gateshead.
Results around those two have been hit and miss at best. There's certainly been no significant new manager bounce at Victoria Park.
"When you come in you have to try and build optimism and enthusiasm," he said.
"There is something in there but with respect I know what it takes to get out of this league and we do not have too many pieces of the jigsaw to get us out of this league.
"We have to try and play in a way that gives us a chance to win games.
"I am struggling to think of a group of players who play backwards more than this group. I am struggling to think of a group who don't win headers and second balls as much as this one.
"I have begun to tell them - if you want to be here next season, you have to start performing."